A Hong Kong study has found that qigong, a meditation and exercise treatment protocol commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, can naturally reduce the symptoms of fatigue and depression.
Qigong (pronounced "chee gung") is the ancient Chinese art and science of becoming aware of qi, or life-force energy, and learning how to guide its flow throughout the body using meditation, either on its own or together with a precise choreography of posture, movement, and breathing. Based in traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese martial arts, not only is it used throughout the modern world as a system of exercise and healing, but it also considered a powerful mindfulness practice that is believed to improve mental health, develop consciousness, and increase self-awareness and self-discipline.
In the Hong Kong study, 137 participants who met diagnostic criteria for fatigue, anxiety, and depression were randomly assigned to one of two groups- an intervention group or a waitlist control group. Intervention group participants received 10 sessions of qigong training twice a week for five consecutive weeks, followed by home-based practice for three months. At the end of the training period, anxiety was not significantly improved in the intervention group. However compared to the waitlist control group, the intervention group had significantly improved scores for total fatigue, physical fatigue, and depression, and a marginally improved score for mental fatigue.
(Effects of qigong exercise on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness: a randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 485341).